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This Review Reveals Minor Details About the Plot.

Birthday Surprises

Us (2019) on IMDb

Plot Overview

When a colored family of three visits Santa Cruz beach in 1986, little Adelaide (Madison Curry) wanders off by her­self into a carnival hall of mirrors where one of her images could easily pass for a doppelgänger. A traumatized mute version of herself emerges more a changeling than a girl who'd lost her way for fifteen minutes. Eventually, dance therapy enables Adelaide as a teenager (Ashley Mckoy) to make a full recovery.

She grows up to marry her Prince Charming Gabe Wilson (Winston Duke.) Their family of four is now at their vacation home when Gabe wants to take them to Santa Cruz beach. Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o) harbors some reservations, but she relents as long as “We leave by dark.” At the beach she feels she's under a “black cloud” and insists, “Gabe, I wanna go.” They leave forthwith.

Christmas carolers silhouetteAt their beach home that night, son Jason (Evan Alex) notices, “There's a family in our drive­way.” Soon that family of four has invaded their home, and the mother-invader Red (Lupita Nyong'o) is a dead ringer for Adelaide (“It's us!”) Red tells them a story: “Once upon a time there was a girl, and the girl had a shadow——” These under­ground shadows (“We're Americans”) are supposedly tethered to those above ground (“We're humans, too”) and are about to embark on a campaign of Untethering, wielding scissors and shears.

This uninvited family is like a fart in an elevator: it's pervasive, it's unwelcome, and the fact it's tethered to (one of) us is beside the point.


kid with hand puppetThe link between the two makes the interlopers “like puppets.” You would think that with such a limitation, an uprising of the puppet people would be like peasants with pitch­forks and staves storming the castle, not a serious threat. However, they've adopted a keenly wise strategy along the lines of, (Prov. 30:24) “There be four things which are little upon the earth, but they are exceeding wise.”

(Prov. 30:25) “The ants are a people not strong, yet they prepare their meat in the summer.” They have under­gone a long season of preparation before launching their invasion.

(Prov. 30:26) “The conies are but a feeble folk, yet make they their houses in the rocks.” They've been living under­ground protected in thousands of miles of vacant tunnels and come up through the sewers. This is intimated when the original dad at the fair was playing a game of Whack-a-Mole hitting the moles as they appeared.

(Prov. 30:27) “The locusts have no king, yet go they forth all of them by Bands.” They have no authoritative leader in a command structure—indeed, they're the out­come of an abandoned government project gone sorcerer's apprentice—but they organize them­selves in a Hands Across America line modeled after the May 25, 1985 event where 6.5 million people held hands for fifteen minutes in a human chain across the United States. In other words they've got each other's backs.

(Prov. 30:28) “The spider taketh hold with her hands, and is in kings' palaces.” Our attention is drawn to the spider by a back­ground tune “The Itsy Bitsy Spider” in the hall of mirrors and by some footage of a spider crawling across the table next to the girl with the vacant expression after she'd exited it. A student of the Proverbs or of nature, who's an observant viewer will be expecting an uppity puppet to become an advance man to the invasion. And as author John Gilstrap puts it, “If a creature looked like a duck and walked like a duck and quacked like a duck, it was unreason­able to conclude that it was a penguin in disguise” (232).

Production Values

” (2019) was written, directed, and produced by Jordan Peele. It stars Lupita Nyong'o, Winston Duke, and Elisabeth Moss. Nyong'o was excellent as the put-upon mother with the mysterious past, and Duke as the protective father was good, too. Elisabeth Moss and Tim Heidecker played the first couple's white friends assuring us this is not some black problem to be swept away. Moss added her own creepy performance. The young actors were also great.

MPAA rated it R for violence/terror, and language. It's technically very well made although the pacing was uneven. The action scenes were well refined.

Review Conclusion w/ Christian Recommendation

The plot was so layered it was nutty as a fruitcake, but there was a solid vein of terror to it that wouldn't let up. Pay attention to Red's explanations, because she's the best public speaker they've got. It's a worthy horror flick with an original premise. See it at your own risk.

Movie Ratings

Action factor: Edge of your seat action. Suitability For Children: Not Suitable for Children of Any Age. Special effects: Well done special effects. Video Occasion: Fit For a Friday Evening. Suspense: Don't watch this movie alone. Overall movie rating: Four stars out of five.

Works Cited

Scripture quoted from the King James Version. Pub. 1611, rev. 1769. Software.

Gilstrap, John. End Game. New York: Pinnacle Books, 2013. Print.